Mars Hill Church thanks Rob Smith for partnering with them in the gospel in 2014

working together

Mars Hill Church just said “Thank You” for all that I had done for the kingdom of God during the year. This at the same time that they refuse to meet with me.

The letter thanking me was accompanied by my giving receipt for the year. I faithfully gave to Mars Hill Church every week that I attended between Mark Driscoll’s resignation and the decision to dissolve the church (two weeks).

In the letter, which suggests that we can “celebrate 2014 as an incredible year” and says that my gift has helped “sown a great harvest.”

The letter outlines some of what I and other donors paid for in 2014. Here are some of the items:

5 Mars Hill Churches were launched/planted in January of 2104.

5 sermon series were taught from the Bible.

67 evangelists were supported in Ethiopia.

33 church planters were supported in India.

11 independent churches planted in January 2015 (the remaining campuses).

Looking at that summary, the largest number is those who received the least amount of money: the Ethiopian evangelists and Indian church planters. The costs of supporting these 100 evangelists and church planters was about 5% of the deceptively promoted Global Fund, and far less than one half of 1% of the budget of the church.

Missing from the cheerfully worded letter was what happened to the $3 million raised for the Jesus Festival, and answers to questions that I and others have asked about the amount of our donations that paid for massive severance packages for the three Executive Elders, and, who now owns all the intellectual property paid for by my and other donors’ money.

Also glaringly missing was any attempt to take responsibility for the deep systemic abuse that led Paul Tripp to resign his position as Board Director and refer to Mars Hill Church as the most abusive that he had ever worked with.

Also missing was any attempt to reach out to those who were abused, including any comment regarding the still-in-effect shunning order against Paul Petry. To their shame, the leaders of Mars Hill Church want to shut down all operations while still leaving the Paul Petry shunning orders in place, and not retracting their official defamatory statements about him and Bent Meyer.

We may never get answers to our questions regarding the finances, and we may never see justice done for Paul Petry, but seeing that my questions throughout 2014 have been so warmly recognized as being a part of building Christ’s kingdom, I shall keep asking that we see full transparency and a redress of the grievances of so many of us donors and members.

Mars Hill Thanks Rob


16 thoughts on “Mars Hill Church thanks Rob Smith for partnering with them in the gospel in 2014

  1. Rob, I to received my letter, had a similar reaction, and rolled my eyes. I also have been quite vocal for transparency and truly believe the remaining spin-offs will flounder or fail as a result of their non-transparency. One question to you however – why is the shunning order from a now (or soon to be) completely defunct and largely disgraced Mars Hill Church so important to you? It seems to matter little that this once promising and now failed enterprise did not lift the shunning order? I to would love to see “man’s justice” prevail on those issues and people you mentioned, although I am resigned to know God ultimately rules that. Who’d be left to do any shunning and who would care if they did. Anyone paying attention knows Paul got a raw deal (see the “Repentant Pastor” site confession letter) but when comes the time to move on?

    • Michael, you ask a very good question.

      Clearly Paul Petry’s name has been cleared in many ways over the last year. He has been proven to have been a man who cared enough about the bylaw change in 2007 to voice his concern strongly after his firing – and his prophetic words were viewed as non-repentance and he was officially shunned.

      Not only has he now been proven correct, but 15 of the men who voted to shun him have repented. Only five of the then elders have not repented.

      So why the persistent call for the shunning to end?

      1) Mark Driscoll, even when he was admitting to “mistakes” always defended the changes to the bylaws. The church leadership has never acknowledged that the crack in the foundation that led to the collapse of Mars Hill Church was the change in the bylaws. To exonerate Paul Petry would be to admit that the bylaw changes he opposed should not have been changed. Driscoll has defended and argued adamantly that the church government had to change due to the size of the church, and therefore the firings and subsequent shunning was necessary.

      2) Paul Petry was an innocent man who was essentially ex-communicated from Mars Hill Church. The shunning caused his name to be damaged which resulted in emotional and financial harm. Justice is a blessing to all – both the victim and the perpetrator. Mars Hill Church leaders may think that they will get away with leaving this injustice buried. But God is not mocked. God is calling the leaders to do the right thing. If they do not, then he is calling the leaders of the 11 so-called “plants” to do justice. If they do not, they will continue to see bad fruit. 2 Cor 2 makes it clear – if a member is treated harshly then Satan will outwit the church. We have seen this play out in 2014 as we have watched a church go from looking forward to their best year ever in January 2014, to having their candle snuffed out by October. I honestly believe that almost every move that Mars Hill leaders made backfired because they failed to see that their own injustice to Paul Petry (who represents hundred of us shunned members) merely got Satan on their side.

      3) To clear Paul Petry means that the church then has to contend with how to show their repentance. Like Zaccheus, repentance would mean that there is restoration of that which was taken. Paul’s good name and the financial harm done to him would be restored. God would be glorified and the name of Jesus would be exalted.

  2. Well now I feel better. The money I thought was stolen to fund book scam, and that was deceitfully diverted in the Global Fund, I actually entrusted to Jesus. Jesus was the one who spent 250K or so of church funds to get Mark”s ruthless betrayal of Grace on the NY Times best seller list. I say this as a nobody who still very much loves MD and MH. God help them, and all of us

  3. Keep on fighting Rob as long as it makes you feel better. And I see you are artificially pumping up that week go fund me account trying to make it look good like fooling the best seller list ay.

    • Matt,

      I can understand that having become used to church leaders that deceive, you would accuse me of being deceptive. But you have no basis for your accusation. You are accusing me of something when you have no idea if true. So as before, you risk being guilty of libel. I am happy to have coffee with you again and show you the accuracy of the fund. I am sorry that your former leaders were deceptive men. That is truly sad.


      • Wait a bit Rob first I forgot to add my thanks to you for giving to the mission of Mars Hill and If I was deceived than you were deceived worse you were a leader there at one time. So I would like to say I’m sorry you were so naive and were deceived.

    • Matt… when I read this I thought of your excusing Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church’s many deceptions and misuse of funds while trying to make something of the fact that I have listed every donation including the matching funds in the total.. so that the reader get the exact total. Somehow this bothers you but the deceptions of Mars Hill Church does not…

      “If and when a leader shows signs of abuse, people who derive their sense of worth from the mission may willingly overlook the red flags. They may rationalize blatant inconsistencies in conduct and even excuse sins directly committed against them by the leader.[51] They may choose to remain and be compliant victims over speaking up and being part of nothing important at all.[52]

      Campus pastor Bill Clem admitted that with the booming success of Mars Hill he was “caught up in the buzz.” This, he said, was why he and the other pastors “could put up with a lot of crap—a lot of egotism, a management-by-objective leadership in the church.”[53] People coming to salvation “became our legitimizing story.”[54] Jonna Petry, wife of Mars Hill elder Paul Petry, said “On the surface, so many factors look great at Mars Hill Church. Who wants to be a critic when in many ways this ministry appears blessed and is so popular? As the thinking goes, “God must be pleased. Look how the church is growing!”[55]”

  4. First of all I was not deceived or defrauded by anybody that is merely your opinion witch in the greater scheme of things means nothing. The fund is easy to resolve. We do these things all the time were I work our owner is a very generous man he matches the employees donations. We approve payroll deducts and they tell us we contributed X dollars then we in our minds double that and we know what is going to the cause. So its simple math have you raised 22070 or 14230 it appears that you have been slipping in matching funds a little at A time to artificially inflate the total and make it look like this fund has some traction. The lack of success of this fund defiantly shows you are in the minority. This fund is so lame we raised 30k in less time than this to send our little League team to the world series. At least it shows people are reading there bible and not wanting to jump on board with a Christians against Christians lawsuit. Enjoy Matt C

    • Matt,

      I am glad you are concerned about the fund (and in so doing letting people know about it). One does not know the end of a matter… for example, who would have thought that Mars Hill Church would be exposed for being the most abusive church in recent history, according to its own board member? Who would have thought the man that said he would never leave and wanted to change his image from “angry young prophet” to “spiritual father” would end up refusing any correction and abandoning everything he stood for? So to predict the outcome is so futile.

      I remember hearing of a Japanese soldier that did not know the war was over years after Japan had surrendered. He was still a faithful soldier – defending the imperial regime.. But that war had been lost, the regime was gone, and life had continued. I see you as that man. Fighting for something that is no more.

      I am so glad you were not deceived, even though thousands were. I am so glad you were not fooled even though thousands were. I am glad that you were not among us naive men who saw it years ago and left. You saw through it all and are still defending it. Good for you, my friend.

      As for me, whatever leadership I had left Mars Hill Church because of new bylaws that I could not in good conscience commit to. Whatever naivety I had prior to that date culminated in me predicting that the unfair trial would haunt Mars Hill Church and never go away.

      But you my friend, have it all right. No fooling you. Mark Driscoll had your heart and loyalty to the bitter end, even though it is clear that you did not have his heart and loyalty – nor did the rest of the church members.

      You are indeed a trooper. Somewhere out there you will something new to defend if you look hard enough. In the meantime, you will likely keep defending the regime that is no more.

      • Rob, below is a quote from Brueggemann’s new book, Reality, Grief, Hope that seems pertinent to the mass of dislocated folks hurt deeply by the Mars Hill tragedy:

        “Perhaps the saving element is that such a propensity to despair, required by visible, experienced circumstance, is kept in engaged conversation, for such engaged conversation is finally the antidote to despair.”

        My recent phone conversation with Walter Brueggemann confirmed that our March 12th evening, When Pain Disrupts Certainty promises to deliver some healing antidotes to our shared pain and struggle.

        Thanks for your ongoing support,


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